How Many Scholarships ARE There?

Former Michigan assistant recruiting coordinator Mark Ouimet and yours truly have been discussing this -- the number of scholarship spots left for the 2002/03 Wolverine football recruiting class. And things HAVE changed due to fall developments! Here is how things look today.

So, how many available scholarships ARE there for the Michigan football program? With seven verbal commitments and a sub-20-member class in the offing, that's a '64-dollar' question. Former assistant recruiting coordiinator Mark Ouimet and yours truly have been discussing this. And due to recent developments, scholarship numbers are not as 'tight' as a month ago. Based on our discussions, here is how things currently look.

Fourteen players are leaving the Michigan football program as graduates this year: B.J. Askew, Ron Bellamy, Emmanuel Casseus, Julius Curry, Dietan Debuc, Joe Denay, Charles Drake, Victor Hobson, Bennie Joppru, Cato June, Shawn Lazarus, Dave Petruziello, Dan Rumishek, and Brandon Williams.

That means that, as a 'starting point', fourteen scholarships are available for the 2002/03 recruiting class.

Then, figuring Tyler Ecker/Quinton McCoy/William Cooper would be becoming in as part of the class, that only left 11 scholarships. With seven verbal commitments, Michigan was facing the difficult possibiity of only four spots left!

However, things always change as the season goes on -- injuries, etc. -- to open up additional scholarship spots. And this year more things have changed much more than usual.

First of all, William Cooper is iffy now (if he does not qualify by Christmas, conventional wisdom is that he may go to MSU), and Zia Combs is a 'medical' (meaning Combs can keep his scholarship but it does not count toward the NCAA-mandated 85 maximum). That makes possibly 13 available scholarships.

Then there also is the BIG CHANGE: the Big Ten rule change allowing member schools to 'oversign by three' on Signing Day -- to bring the total number of scholarships to 88 until fall practice starts (at which time the NCAA-maximum 85 must be adhered to). Assuming Michigan 'oversigns by three', that would bring the Wolverines to 16 scholarships available.

Of course, if Michigan does 'oversign by three', they would have to find a way to reduce back to 85 by the start of fall two-a-days. These three reductions would come available due to additional 'medicals', or by some 'rising 5th year' players not actually coming back. Yours truly believes that Michigan will have three players in these two catagories -- and therefore will likely oversign by three if there are wanted-recruits to fill the spots. Thus, I believe, Michigan can sign a total of 16 high school kids on Signing Day -- meaning there can be as many as nine more commitments on top of the current seven. The total 'new class' then would be 18 (adding in Ecker and McCoy).

Of course, things always change in recruiting -- the ONLY 'constant' in recruiting is change. So my 'nine more' declaration is my approximation for today, November 29, 2002! Tomorrow, and by Signing Day, the number might be different! (but not by much ...)

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